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This Week’s Frugal Accomplishments

I made two lemon meringue pies to celebrate Ezrom’s birthday and my grandmother’s birthday. I used lemons from the garden to make them. I used shortening in the crust instead of butter, which kept the cost down. It was less than $1 for both pies. He loved the giant origami cranes that his sister folded and hung for him for decorations, along with the banner that she made him for his birthday.

I took pictures of Ezrom for his birthday this week.

I also took pictures of Ivory.

I found a way to repurpose some display hangers so that they would be used to hang herbs for drying in my pantry. I had these hanging with lanterns at my previous house, but since we moved here 6 years ago I have never used them. Now I have a place to dry herbs that is also out of the way. My husband hung them with some screws that he already had.

I moved my cake pans into the pantry. This freed up space in my kitchen drawers for items that I use more frequently, and allowed me to keep the cake pans as well.

We bought a used van and paid cash. We have been waiting to purchase a larger vehicle that would be big enough for our family for a long time. After having struggled for most of last year to have much of an income (a law was passed in October 2011 in Nevada to stop foreclosures; it also stopped most sales. It was overturned in October 2012, but the banks are still not issuing foreclosure notices, and Las Vegas has had a shortage of houses for sale), we were blessed with several sales at the end of the year and in January. Each year for the last 5 years I have watched our income decrease each year from the previous year. This month it increased! The banks are still not foreclosing yet. We are proceeding cautiously; we know there may yet be many rough months ahead without sales, for both my husband and the agents who work for him.

We had been hoping to buy a small bus, but after prayer, we felt a van was the right thing. Research showed us, too, that a van was about 1/4th the cost of a bus, so my husband has looked and looked for something that would be right for us. We were able to find something that was just a little bit under what we had saved.

The van has several features that we wanted, but it was missing most of the seat belts. My husband went to a place called Pick a Part, which is a huge lot with a few thousand cars. You take your tools and take off the parts you want, and then you pay for them when you leave. He found 5 seat belts for us that we hope to have fit; they cost $3 each. He will be cleaning them and installing them. We took out the rear seat of the van to have some storage room in the back for shopping, so the van now seats 11.

Since the van was at the other end of town right by the Bass Pro Shop, we went there on our way home. Our Bass Pro Shop is attached to a casino, and there is an aquarium (just one large tank with lots of fish and sting rays) right at the entrance between the two. The aquarium is free. We checked out the aquarium and some of the animals at the Bass Pro Shop, and then we came home and had a late lunch. (Though it was around 2 pm when we arrived home, none of the children complained about being hungry, and when we got home I made a quick lunch for everyone.)

We have listed our other vehicle (I call it our family car, but it’s not a car; chances are that I’ll call the van a car, too, as in “Let’s get in the car!”) for sale on Craig’s List. My husband cleaned it and took pictures this week. We hope to sell it for the same amount as what we paid for the van. The money will go back into our account to pay the bills for the months that are coming up. We will remain a one car family, which will keep our expenses down. (If anyone is interested in purchasing a 2004 Ford Expedition with a little over 86,000 miles on it, let me know! )

The law here states that we have 30 days from the date of purchase to register a vehicle. By waiting until the end of that time, we will move our annual registration fee back another month. This will save us for a month. Also, the law allows us to transfer plates from one vehicle to another, so if we can sell our other vehicle during that time, we can just transfer the plates.

I harvested arugula, rosemary, and parsley from the garden.

The children have caught a cold/ear infection. We are treating it at home. Their ear pain is gone already (usually one application of this is all it takes to get rid of an ear infection) but they are still congested. Our meals have been very simple this week.

I made French bread and Greek yogurt.

It was cold enough to run the heater again for a few nights this week. The days were wonderfully warm toward the end of the week and I was able to open the windows and enjoy the fresh air inside. I was able to get outside for a bit on Friday afternoon to do some pruning.

I took a free Graphics Design Class on Creative Live. The classes are free to watch while they are live. I gained a couple of new ideas that were just what I was needing for something that I have been wanting to redesign.

I had an at-home date with my husband one night after the children were in bed.

My husband cut my hair for me.

What did you do to save money this week?

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25 Comments

  1. Yes, I can wax my own cheese. It is one of the planned activities for this summer, when the grandchildren visit one at a time, because I want them to know how to do it as a way to preserve cheese without refrigeration.

  2. Thank you, Patti! I didn’t think of it that way! I am so very PROUD of how both of my older girls live within their means. I wasn’t raised that way and had to learn the hard way.

  3. This week I made my own rolls, I have been fiddling with the recipe because my husband likes those squishy store rolls but they are 3.29 a bag. My home made ones are awesome but not really squishy. I tried changing the amount of gluten but that just made them really squat and sad, I think maybe they couldn’t rise right, so I used less potato starch because oops I ran out and all the other ingredients were already in and TADA! I always thought the potato was supposed to make it squishier. I can’t remember. Also, I noticed there was a hotdog brand at our store that was similar to the ones I buy but it was BOGO and one dollar cheaper, I tried those and we all liked them so I am going to pick up four more later this week and freeze them. My grocery store was running a diaper deal where you bought your diapers and they took 10 dollars off your purchase, I came in forty dollars under budget this week and I am so excited. That was also with buying food for the food pantry. AHHAA, it took a while to explain how a food pantry worked to my toddler, he kept getting mad that I was giving away “his” crackers. Our church collects meal sets so soup and crackers or pasta and sauce, etc. I have been watching for coupons for things to donate instead of just picking up whatever. When I go back to the store on Thursday, I am going to get the diapers again which we would use anyhow and then the hotdogs will be free. I also made a great dinner using stuff I had kicking around the house, rissoto rice and a packet of fajita seasoning and a pound of manager special chicken thighs with a cup of black beans. It was great. I tried our 11 month old with some whole beans like I saw you give Ivory and he really liked them. Hmmm what else, we got our water bill and our usage for January was noticeably lower which I attribute to our new dishwasher. I am reading that blueberry book you told us about. My husband grew up in the woods with many wild blueberry bushes on their property and he is sniffy about store blueberries. So we decided this morning we would try to grow two or three in containers. I am trying to chose new linens for our home as all our towels are approaching eight years old and they are fine for rags but not really for bathing. I am of overwhelmed trying to choose a brand.

  4. Bed Bath and Beyond have some great Bath sheets that work well for Bathing at decent prices in Jan and Feb. I tell all that I want money for towels for Christmas even if it is only a dollar or two , then I use all that everyone gives me any extra cash that I have earned and my towels have lasted 9 years. I need new ones now but, I will do this again. I only spent $30.00 the month that I bought them but I had a large coupon and lots of gift money so I got like $100.00 off using all of that. The ones I have say Royal Velvet. The thing that I notice lately is that they are not as absorbent.

  5. if you use a commercial fabric softener or dryer sheets they can build up in your towels and cause them to not absorb very well. Use vinegar in the rinse and it will cut the softener build up.

  6. Wow what a great list. We use corn starch instead of baby powder. It even clears up diaper rash sometimes in one day and it is so much cheaper . I bet you could even put it in your empty powder container. We just use a jar with holes pocked inthe lid. Good for you saving so much money and congrats to yourDH for being so bold. 🙂 Patti B

  7. Your pictures are so beautiful! Your children with have some wonderful pictures of childhood memories.–One of our vehicles broke down last week, but thanks to my mom who gives us a AAA subscription every year for Christmas, we were able to tow the car for free. We also saved some money in gas as a one car family (though I must admit I am starting to get cabin fever! I have a new respect for all moms who live in a one car family!).–My husband’s grandmother moved to assisted living and gave us her dining room table and chairs. It was such an unexpected blessing as we were making do with our old one.–About a year ago we switched to a different electric supplier for a better rate. We just received a notice from them that our rate has dropped this year. It’s only a small amount, but every little bit helps!–Made a double batch of apple oatmeal muffins with apples that were getting soft. –Made granola cereal and instant oatmeal packets.–Cut younger son’s hair.–Received free Glade Expressions Diffuser and Spray from BzzAgent.–Received a free razor and refill from BzzAgent.–Saving jelly jars and spaghetti sauce jars for the garden and other uses.

  8. I love how you put it – “it’s what we haven’t done.” For my family, prioritizing our activities and even our grocery purchases is a big part of how we live frugally. I haven’t taken Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, but my husband and I were able to read Total Money Makeover (we were thrilled to find his book at the library!). I think you will find a lot of good advice. This year I just started shopping for groceries with cash and it has been an eye opening experience. It has definitely made me make some hard decisions about what I buy for food (I have even had to put some things that we could do without back on the shelves). I have found myself asking more and more “do we really NEED that?”Start with the baby steps! 🙂

  9. Thanks for the tip Cindy!This is what I Love about this blog everyone is sooooooooo nice!We have cut everything I know how to cut we use lamp oil three nights per week and I have been using barter wood for years to heat. I cut every quarter to 1/8th of a penny that I can but I can’t seem to cut our cost any further. I am looking for a way to increase income.I work at Bartering all the time for anything that I can for my family. We are trying to save some for retirement we are in our 60’s and have gone through our savings in this recession. So we are trying to get back to saving.Everything keeps going up. Our HOA fees and taxes are out of control!Thank you to all you ladies, you are all soooooooooo very kind!

  10. Real books do rock, but at our library we can check out ebooks on our nooks and kindles. We own so many “real” books that we could make a small library and it would be a well stocked small library, we are at the point that I had to do something so two of us now have nooks. We also like alot of the same genre’s so we reread each other’s books, and books we have already read, rarely do we have books to get rid off, sadly though mice got into a box of our books in the garage:( No mice in my nook:D

  11. I found this link on the Dollar Stretcher site. It shows pictures of various “recycled” uses of products, like cutting the clip bars from a skirt hanger to use as a bag clip, or using the plastic tab from a bread wrapper to keep the tape end from sticking to itself, or to prolong the life of flip flops, when placed on the bottom. Not all the ideas were useful to me, but some of them were:http://themetapicture.com/most-useful-life-hacks/

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